Jalapeño poppers are an American barbecue staple, and this jalapeño popper dip is mind-blowingly good.
You get all of the flavors of the jalapeño, cream cheese, and bacon that you would expect from a jalapeño popper but in an easy-to-scoop bite.
This is a low-effort dip for something so good. Honestly, the hardest part of the entire recipe is dicing up the jalapeños and onions – once you get past that the rest is a breeze!
I like to make this recipe on the smoker for an extra layer of flavor, but this dip can be made on the grill or in the oven.
Ingredients needed for jalapeño popper dip
- Fresh jalapeños – If you prefer to use pickled jalapeños, that is fine. I like to use the fresh ones because I find them to be a bit spicier, plus the texture adds a little crunch to the dish. If you decide to used pickled jalapeños instead, I would recommend using about 1-1/2 cups.
- Cheese – I opted for Monterey Jack and cream cheese, but you can switch it up and use whatever cheese you like. I recommend using a medium-melty cheese like Monterey Jack, Havarti, Muenster, or Gouda for your base.
- Cream cheese – If you are not a big cream cheese fan you could use Velveeta or Neufchâtel.
- Rotel – I like to use the Hot Rotel because I’m a big fan of extra spice, but you can totally use the Mild version if you want to cut back on the spice level a little bit.
- Crumbled bacon – I used store-bought chopped bacon but you can also fry streaky bacon until it’s extra crispy and then crumble it yourself.
- Fresh cilantro – Leave out if you are one of those people who can’t stand the taste of cilantro
- White onion – you can substitute sweet onion or even red onion if you want to pack in a little extra onion flavor, but the white onion is my go-to choice.
Related – Smoked cream cheese recipe
How to make jalapeño popper dip
1. Chop your vegetables and herbs
I like to start by chopping up all my vegetables and herbs first.
There is a French term used in the culinary world called mise en place, which loosely translates to “putting in place”. It refers to the prep work done before you start cooking – whether it be chopping your vegetables, measuring your ingredients, or laying out whatever tools you are going to need.
It is a great habit to get into and will make your cooking process so much easier and more efficient.
2. The cheese
Cheese is probably the most important ingredient in this recipe.
The cheese is going to turn your classic poppers into a delicious, creamy dip. You will need about 16oz of the melty cheese (e.g. Monterey Jack) chopped into cubes. Chopping the cheese into cubes makes it melt much better.
The next cheese you are going to add needs to be a bit creamier. You do not need to chop the cream cheese into cubes because it will melt fairly quickly, so you can just throw the blocks in the pan alongside your cubed Monterey Jack.
To balance out the creaminess of the cheese, it’s important to add some freshness and acidity to this dip. That’s where the Rotel comes in.
3. Assembling your dip
I use my cast iron pan for just about everything that I can. I love the way it holds temperature, will cook food evenly, and the handle makes it easy to transport from place to place.
If you want something a little easier to clean up, you can grab a disposable aluminum pan for this recipe, and it will work just as well.
Add your cubed cheese and cream cheese to the pan first. Then throw in the diced jalapeños, diced white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and crumbled bacon.
If you want to make this dish vegetarian, you can leave the bacon out, but it definitely adds some great smoky flavor and crunchy texture that you would get in a traditional jalapeño popper.
The finishing touch is just a half cup of milk poured over the top.
The milk will help with consistency and give you the creamy texture that you want in a cheese dip. I used 2% milk, but I honestly do not think it matters – so just use whatever is in your fridge!
4. Fire up the smoker
While this recipe is made on the smoker, this dip can also be made on the grill or even in the oven. The hint of smoky flavor really adds a great layer of flavor, but the dip is equally as good made right in your kitchen as well.
I smoked this dip on my Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050. It is a gravity-fed charcoal smoker that works great for short cooks like this or for longer cooks as well. The hopper can hold up to 8 hours worth of lump charcoal so it can keep you smoking all day long.
I used B&B Oak Lump Charcoal for this cook. Oak is a milder wood than hickory or mesquite, but it packs a great smoky flavor – making it perfect for this recipe.
Once your smoker is preheated to 300°F, just place the pan or tray directly on the grates.
Let it smoke for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to melt. Then grab a spoon and give the whole thing a good mix.
Once all of the ingredients are well-combined, place it back on the smoker for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then, this dip is ready to enjoy!
I like to serve this jalapeño popper dip alongside tortilla chips, but it would go great with crackers or fresh tortillas as well.
You can use it as a topping for a taco or just eat it on its own, but I can guarantee that you are going to love it.
Other barbecue dip ideas
Jalapeño Popper Dip Recipe
Jalapeño Popper Dip
- 6 large Jalapeños diced
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 16 oz Monterey Jack cheese cubed
- 10 oz Hot Rotel
- ½ cup white onion diced
- ½ cup bacon crumble
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup milk
- Preheat your smoker to 300°F.
- Chop your Monterey Jack cheese into cubes.
- Place the cubed cheese in a large cast iron pan (or aluminum tray).
- Add the cream cheese, jalapeños, Hot Rotel, white onion, bacon, and cilantro.
- Pour the milk over the top of the ingredients.
- Place your pan or tray on the smoker and let it smoke for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to melt.
- Grab a spoon and give it all a good mix until the ingredients are well-combined.
- Place the pan back on the smoker for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately alongside your favorite tortilla chips.